The Best House of All

The Best House of All

When the editors at Pratham Books wrote in for a STEM book about houses, it brought back a flood of memories. My childhood spent tying sheets to chairs, propped up with sticks and cushions dragged in from various corners to create my own “house”. I recall a perfect grass-free muddy park that allowed me to create layouts for houses with a stick dragged through mud and stones to line my boundary wall. I’ve relived all those memories with my own children creating “houses” within our home. Clothes pegs holding up various corners of sheets requisitioned from the linen cupboard, torchlit talks within, stuffed-toy mattresses, collapsing houses, food passed in through the ‘door’, passwords, giggles and laughter – free play at its best. I knew I had to bring this into my book even as I wrote a book for a STEM series. And so while I wrote about the different kinds of houses around the world, my little architect in the book sets about building her house within a house. And just as climate, space, terrain and materials at hand are crucial factors in the shape and form that homes take, so do these influence her creation. Add to this, my childhood plan to become an architect. A plan that got side-tracked onto a different journey with math and an MBA but doesn’t it all work out for the best? I now get to put all that into a book – The Best House of All! A book that I hope will, in addition to giving children know-how on houses, also inspire little minds inclined to this to be architects someday. A story that reminds...
To whom do you dedicate a book on thumb sucking?

To whom do you dedicate a book on thumb sucking?

There is something about dedications in books. Even before I published a book, I never skipped reading the dedications that start off a book. It is that little glimpse into the author’s emotions, thought process… their voice – a glimpse into their real life, possibly. Authors write dedications related to the encouragement and support that the concerned person has provided in the writer’s life, possibly been a source of inspiration. It could be a wish that something conveyed in the book comes true in turn for the people the book is dedicated to. An expression of love, respect, acknowledgement in the writer’s most precious currency – words. Every dedication that I put in, means a lot to me. I like to connect the content of the book, to the person I am dedicating it to … well, in most cases other than in my first book, Icky, Yucky, Mucky!. The dedication, to Sidhant, Antara and Sunish is for their encouragement to my writing and their tolerance for hearing the same story over and over again, in its many forms. It wasn’t inspired by them (just making sure we are quite clear, given the content of the story). However, what does one do when a story such as Anaya’s Thumb is indeed inspired by one of my offspring? It becomes a rather delicate matter. Do I say, ‘For ______ for inspiring me with your lip sucking? May you stop soon!’ or ‘For _________. I’ve tried everything! I’ve even written a book on it! NOW STOP!’? I thought it best instead, to include a lip sucking hippo calf in the story and dedicate...